Minnesota Report

When we listened to House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) discuss the ongoing budget negotiations, of which he is not a participant in the discussions, we found it interesting that he declared his assessment of where the state can go based on a sophomoric calculation, he said, the budget could be passed with a 7.3% increase with any need for new revenue from taxation.

We have thought similarly, but to do so would mean significant raiding of the state’s cash reserve accounts. This is a common Republican approach of spending one-time money, and bringing down the reserves as a resource option, which puts the state in a vulnerable position in the long-term should an inevitable economic downturn occur.

If you listen to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) and their fixed position it is a 5% Budgetary increase from 2018-19. But to be more honest it should be a based on the way that things used to be advanced and it should be based on a doubling of the 2nd year of the biennium and then the various percentages should be determined. When we look at the idea of 5% it would be largely consumed just by the Education portion of the budget which seeks to provide an increase of 2% each year of the budget.

If with all tax positions retained Governor Tim Walz’ (DFL-MN) comes in at an 8.1% over 2018-19 then a worthy negotiated point would be the split the two sides down the middle, but again the starting point should be from the doubling 2019 figures and the result would be a 6.55% increase. Which is short of Daudt’s declaration and leaves untouched the Budget Reserve and the Cash Accounts.

This is a more open and honest approach to budgeting and allows for corrections to be made in 2020 when legislators return to St Paul and two other quarter revenue reports are known.

Additionally, on the policy side, we would then expect all agreed to positions to pass as already have been happening in the Conference Committees and the language in dispute will not be dealt with. One humorous note is when we watch the Conference Committee proceedings and hear Republicans Chairs attempt to advance positions past from last legislative session and then vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) they must think people are downright stupid when they say, well it passed last year so the issue should logically be advanced. No, what is being discussed is legislation passed under Republican control and is not acceptable to DFL House members.